Monday, December 19, 2016

Fedora @ LISA 2016 Wrap-Up

LISA is a conference that stands for "Large Installation System Administration." Corey Sheldon told me how awesome it was last year, and that is one reason why I went this year. I was one of one of the Fedora ambassadors along with:
  • Matthew Miller (it's the only event he serves as an ambassador at each year)
  • Corey Sheldon
  • Nick Bebout
  • Beth Eicher
  • Some Red Hatters involved in Fedora (like Steve Gallagher.)
    • Note: There was a Red Hat booth right next to us.

Mike DePaulo showing off X2Go to Matthew Miller

Overall, the event went very well. Perhaps it felt that way due to the technical nature of the crowed. The reasons why it went well are:
  • Many people had heard of Fedora
  • Of those that had not heard of Fedora, almost everyone had heard of RHEL or CentOS, and were pleased to hear about Fedora's relationship to them.
    • In addition to the usual explanations about the relationship, I like to say "Red Hat sells its past, and gives away its future."
  • A Microsoft employee expressed his opinion that that Fedora should be on the Azure cloud.
    • Disclaimer: This was his personal opinion.
  • A few people reported that they were using Fedora in production environments consisting of dozens or hundreds of machines.
  • At least 1 person expressed interest in using the Fedora 24 Workstation DVDs that we had, specifically to try out Fedora via the live mode.
  • At least 1 person was delighted to hear that he could use either GNOME boxes or virt-manager on his CentOS system to run Fedora easily.
    • After all, Fedora includes the drivers and guest agents to run on these KVM-based virtualization solutions.
  • Steve Gallagher gave a presentation on Fedora Modularity. Of particular note was his Voltron analogy!
Some downsides though:
  • We only had Fedora 24 DVD's rather than Fedora 25 DVD's. Of course, Fedora 25 was only released 2 weeks prior, so it was unreasonable to have hundreds of DVD's printed & delivered by then.
  • We had Cockpit on a big display. Although it generally worked, the SELinux feature did not at all. Even when we went out of our way to generate an SELinux error that was logged, it did not show up in the Cockpit GUI.
I personally had a great time. I look forward to next year!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fedora @ RIT BrickHack 2016 wrap-up

Along with several other ambassadors, I attended BrickHack 2016 at RIT over the weekend. It is a hackfest for college students sponsored by MLH.

(Technically I am not an ambassador yet. But I've been told that I should feel like I'm one already.)

Shouldn't the short guy (your's truly) be in the front?
The event went very well from both the event's perspective and from Fedora's perspective.

I went as a coding mentor in addition to a sponsor, but there were very few requests for mentoring (and they were very brief.) Instead, most people who came up to the booth wanted to know about Fedora!

(And they wanted stickers and case badges.)

I remember one person who had an interesting reason for wanting to try out Linux: She liked Bash after having used Git Bash on Windows.

Many student develops were particularly interested in DevAssistant. They loved its concept of easily setting up a development environment / project.

DevAssistant drew a lot of interest

There were a total of 16 projects submitted to the FOSS category, and were thus eligible for the prizes. Considering that Microsoft received 24 project submissions, and they were giving away a far more lucrative set of prizes (~$1,000 Surface Pro 4 tablets,) I'd say that people were pretty self-motivated to release their project as FOSS.

Although the FOSS category winner (an online card game in HTML5) was worthy of the prize it received, I would like to give an honorable mention to another project. They implemented an email client and server with end-to-end PGP encryption. The client is in HTML5.

There was one student, Mikhael, who completed his project early and wanted help installing Fedora to dual-boot along side OS X on his Early 2015 11" Macbook Air. Although we had to resort to using the broadcom wireless driver from RPMFusion, which involved transferring RPMs via USB key, by the time we were done he was very pleased. He also wanted basic instructions on using Fedora, so I made sure to show him how to use gnome-shell, GNOME Software and gedit with developer plugins.

I would also like to thank Ben Williams for his work on the updated live media; we used it to install Fedora Workstation for Mikhael. Also I would like to thank the liveusb-creator team; DVD drives are a rarity nowadays.


edit: Added info on DevAssistant